Ashley and Miguel spent the better part of the morning visiting with Dr. Vauthey and Dr. Fogelman. She was scheduled to meet Dr. Vauthey at 7:00 (PST) and the Doc wasn't able to make it there until around 9:00. After meeting with Dr. Vauthey for the better part of an hour, they had to hurry over to meet with Dr. Fogelman. Both Doctors are great and they send in several staff members to go over preliminary results before they get there.
Well, here we go with the results. Let me start by saying that they are not perfect, but considering where Ashley was one year ago, they are pretty remarkable. I'll address the areas one at a time. First of all, the whole left section of the liver that they removed was extensively tested. The margins around the whole section were clear of cancer. There were a small number of viable cancer cells near the center of this section. But... it was removed. The small spots that were removed from the right side of her liver were re-tested and found to be only scar tissue as originally tested. There were several questionable lymph nodes removed and these were found to be clear of cancer. After the liver section was removed, they were able to examine the stomach area in more depth. Only one small nodule of the original multiple tumors remained. They removed this small nodule and it was found to contain a few viable cancer cells. But... it was removed. The lungs were looked at and no questionable areas were found, so all original tumors there have disappeared. So in summary, a small number of viable cancer cells in the middle of the removed liver section and also a small number of viable cancer cells in a small nodule remaining on her stomach. All other tumors were either gone or tested clear of cancer.
So, where does this leave us? We are still all feeling very positive. Sure, there were a few live cancer cells remaining, but they were removed. The doctors stated that considering where Ashley was one year ago , this is an amazing improvement. We all wanted zero live cancer cells to be found and although Ashley did not achieve that result, she still made remarkable progress.
Dr. Fogelman will continue directing the protocol from here on out. He stated that he never trusts cancer and he wants to continue some therapy for a while. He wants to stay away from chemo because it can be very harsh on people and he wants to help Ashley feel like she has some part of her normal life back again. He is planning to put Ashley on a targeted inhibitor pill for now. There is some question whether the insurance company will approve it for Ashley's case, but Dr. Fogelman told us he has boxing gloves on his wall and he is ready to go to battle with them for Ashley if need be. He says this should keep any cancer cells from spreading if there are any left. It is important to note that all detectable cancer is either gone or has been removed from Ashley's body. The doctors are trying to prevent any remaining non-detectable cancer from returning. No one knows whether there is any or not, but we must be vigilant in treatment. It should also be noted that Ashley will continue with her voodoo therapy regime.
Ashley will continue to be monitored very closely for the next several years. She will get CT scans done every 3 months and will probably get additional blood work done between scans. Ashley, you have come a long way baby, so keep up the good work. Dr. Vauthey said "I have done everything I can with my hands and you have done everything you can with your hands, so now it is out of both of our hands". Miguel and Ashley said that he had a beautiful , sincere smile on his face, a look of a man with faith. Wow, I really like that and I think that resonates with a lot of people. Prayer is powerful and Ashley's case is a perfect example of that.
We would like to again thank all of our family and friends for the prayers and help you have given our family during this trying time. Dang it, I just have to say that we have the best support group in the world and we love you all.
Thanks again everyone. All of our love.